A duck
Left the familiar surroundings of the pond
And the company of his fellows
To cross the road

Having not conducted a risk assessment
And lacking any capacity for reflective thought,
In the middle of the carriageway
He tucked his feet beneath him, and just sat down

A car came round the corner.
The driver saw the duck, and stopped.
The duck
Looked from left to right, and
Then from right to left
But did not move

His was not the paralysis of indecision
Nor the limb-freezing terror of imminent danger
He was just a duck sitting in the middle of the road
Entirely lacking the capacity for reflective thought

The driver looked at the duck
And the duck looked at the driver
But nothing really happened
Except that I joined the queue of traffic
Behind the driver
Behind the duck

At this point the driver bethought himself to
Move things on a bit
So he opened the car door, and got out of his vehicle
To address the duck

Such was his haste
To do the right thing, display the right attitude
Towards a duck who lacked entirely the capacity for reflective thought
Or the intention to move

That he forgot to apply his handbrake
And his car began to roll gently backwards
Down the slope
To mine

Emergency! Crash imminent!
The man spotted the danger and leapt to his car, which would not
Stop. Why should it? It was just a lump of metal on wheels, entirely in thrall
To the laws of physics which made it work in the first place

Panicking now, the man flung
Open the door, and himself across the
Drivers seat, legs sticking out as if the car had
Eaten him

Just in time
He wrenched on the handbrake and the car stopped
One inch from mine

The man climbed into the car
No eye contact with me, or the duck
And drove away

I looked at the duck and the duck
looked at me. I smiled and the duck smiled back in a shared
Moment of understanding

For we both recognized that its not just ducks, but folks
Who sometimes lack the reflective capacity to think through the consequences of their actions
To their logical conclusions.

And with that, the duck stirred his stumps
And waddled slowly back to the pond
To stick his white head under the green water
And I drove home for tea

One thought on “Poultry in motion: a true story about a duck

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